An article in today’s Guardian, has added extra meaning to our protest outside the UKBA this afternoon. Louise Perrett worked as a case owner at the UK Border Agency office in Cardiff for three and a half months last summer. Due to her experiences of her time in the agency she has risked breaching the Official Secrets Act to go public with evidence of anti-immigration views and abuse of power by UK Border Agency staff.
“I witnessed general hostility, rudeness and indifference towards clients. It was completely horrific. I highlighted my concerns to senior managers but I was just laughed at. I decided to speak out because nobody else was saying anything and major changes are needed at senior management level.”
Her revelations reveal a culture of bigotry and prejudice in the Cardiff office, where members of staff took pride in refusing applications.
- One manager said of the asylum-seeker clients: “If it was up to me I’d take them all outside and shoot them.”
- If a case was difficult, she was simply advised to refuse it and “let a tribunal sort it out”.
- Any officer who approved an asylum application had a stuffed toy “grant monkey” placed on their desk by other members of staff as a badge of shame.
- One official tested the claims of boys from African countries who said they had been forcibly conscripted as child soldiers by making them lie down on the floor and demonstrate how they shot at people in the bush.
- Interviews were conducted without lawyers, independent witnesses or tape recorders.
We have been drawing attention to the fact their is something very rotten at the goings on at 31-33 Newport Road for some time. It comes as no surprise to us that the staff are prejudice and abusive, there are countless examples of the result of the behaviour Louise Perrett describes. We hope her bravery in going public will lead to the wholesale dismissal of staff and fundamental changes in the operation of the agency, if not it’s total abolition.